Demolition of Ford Motor Company's Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul could begin this winter, if the city's Planning Commission signs off on Ford's plan to raze the venerable factory.

The demolition plan, submitted last week, will get its first official review Tuesday night, when the Highland District Council holds a public meeting to review it. The Planning Commission is expected to take its vote before the end of the month.

Demolition is the first step toward preparing the 122-acre site for a new use -- most likely a mixed-use development that would fit in well with the Highland Park district, one of St. Paul's most popular residential areas.

Ford's plan to clear the site and clean it of pollutants, if necessary, could take until 2017 to complete.

According to the company's application to the city, it would first take down the paint building, a 372,000-square-foot structure built in the 1980s.

Next to be razed would be the 1.5 million-square-foot main assembly building, which includes the original 1924 structure and a training center that was built in 1998.

The demolition would start with removal of environmentally sensitive materials, cleaning of interior surfaces and finally destruction of the buildings down to the concrete slabs. The slabs, pavement and train rails would be removed, and building foundations would be demolished down to 6 feet below the floor surface.

Eventually the site would be graded and landscaped. Steps would be taken to control dust during demolition and erosion at the property, the company says.

No more than 30 trucks would enter and leave the plant daily to load and carry away building materials, which Ford said was fewer than the number servicing the factory when it was operating. Trains also would be used to dispose of materials. Work would be done only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The Planning Commission's zoning committee will hold a public hearing on the plan on Dec. 20. The full commission is scheduled to take up the plan on Dec. 28.

Ford decided the plant was outdated and closed it for good last December, after 86 years of assembling cars and pickup trucks there. The company has enlisted a national real estate firm to market the site to potential developers.

Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035